By Mary Orndorff Troyan, Gannett Washington Bureau
WASHINGTON - President Barack Obama on Wednesday nominated two women to federal judgeships in South Carolina.
U.S. Magistrate Bruce Howe Hendricks and South Carolina at-large Circuit Judge Alison Renee Lee were picked to fill two U.S. district court vacancies in Columbia.
"These individuals have demonstrated the talent, expertise, and fair-mindedness Americans expect and deserve from their judicial system," Obama said. "I am grateful for their willingness to serve and confident that they will apply the law with the utmost impartiality and integrity."
Hendricks was a federal magistrate in Greenville from 2002 to 2010 and in Charleston for the past three years. She was federal prosecutor in Charleston and received her law degree in 1990 from the University of South Carolina School of Law.
If confirmed, she would fill the seat vacated by District Judge Margaret Seymour, who took senior status in January, according to U.S. Rep. James Clyburn, D-Columbia.
"I have had a close friendship with the Howe family since the 1960's when I lived in Charleston," Clyburn said. "I have gotten to know Brucie during her service as a federal magistrate. Her temperament and personal attributes have served her well in the legal profession and will be tremendous assets as a federal district court judge."
Lee was elected to South Carolina's circuit court by the General Assembly in 1999. Her office is in Columbia. She is a former administrative law judge, and from 1989-94 was staff counsel for the South Carolina Legislative Council.
She also worked in private practice and clerked for appellate judges in South Carolina and Louisiana. She received her law degree in 1982 from Tulane Law School. She would fill the upcoming vacancy created by District Judge Cameron Currie, who will take senior status beginning in October 2013, Clyburn said.
Clyburn, the only Democrat in the South Carolina delegation, recommended both women for the judgeships.
"I have known Judge Lee professionally since she arrived in Columbia, and know her to be a woman of deep faith with a strong commitment to the community," Clyburn said. "Her varied experiences in the legal and judicial fields make her uniquely qualified to serve on the federal bench."
District court nominations normally sail through the Senate Judiciary Committee without controversy. Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-Seneca, is a member of the committee. His office declined comment Wednesday.
A spokesman for Sen. Tim Scott, R-Charleston, said Scott would not object to either nomination.